From novice to proficiency to mastery in the learning process takes time and commitment. My journey to black belt took 12 years. All of my development belts white, blue, purple and brown show this hard work in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I have heard the debates about promotions in Martial Arts and Jiu-Jitsu, and have been involved in many different curriculums and grading strategies. Being a student of the old school of promotions where I was a blue belt for over five years or if I was held back before earning my purple belt, one thing is very true: I learned the basics, the true philosophies on the art and was able to perform “both” as a blue belt in the academy, in the streets and in competition.
For the last 7 months I started learning a second language. Every day I have practiced one or two lessons in Brazilian Portuguese. At this point I can be a very good tourist, I can invite you in my house to show you around, do some small talk and I can date a woman in another language, “Have I seen you here before?” (Eu já vi voce aqui antes). I am coming along fine with this second language and I am not in a rush to get through the material to take the advance lessons.
When I speak to friends from Brazil, they smile at me and laugh with me because my Portuguese is very close but not proficient to hold a lasting conversation. I can only tell you how difficult it is learning one language and I can’t sit here thinking how much more challenging it would be to learn multiple languages at once.
However, let me play the game of I can learn multiple arts or languages at once. I will be able to learn boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu with out the jacket and kickboxing within a 6 to 12 month period of time. If this is all viewed a a short time frame, I know that the results will be I will know the (Martial Arts Moves) words and the meaning of word (How Martial Arts Go Together); however, I will not be able to experience the art of conversation (express the basics & philosophy of each Martial Art) with my Brazilian friends and they will continue to smile.
My brazilian friends will continue to smile at me from the above example because when I get into jiu-jitsu positions such a the mount position when a good jiu-jitsu man is sitting on my chest, I will get frustrated or use my physical attributes when I run into a challenge. The answers that I am looking for to overcome the positional flaws I find myself in are to improve my basic skills in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, gain a better understanding of the philosophies of being mounted from the bottom position and most importantly analyze my successes if I am escaping. Are my expresses following a philosophy? I am escaping in a technique methodology or am I doing moves with strength? Will these types of escapes work against everyone in the room?
When I was a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I was taught to test my techniques, strategies and the philosophies that governed them. We tested ourselves too in class. Could I escape everyone’s mount? Next I tested myself against other academies in my area and then on a national level. My focus was in one Martial Art this time period. I only practiced wrestling and judo during these years because I needed those standing techniques for competition.
When a student can express a philosophy in a respected position in a ground fight, he or she is going to get my attention because I can see the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu being expressed. To many people want to show the moves or tell me how many words they know. They are missing some thing. To say in Portuguese, “To Miss” is (Estar com Saudades) – To Be With Longing!
The word Saudade is a concept unique to the Portuguese Language, There is no exact translation in English or any other language for that matter, but you will come across this word a lot in Poruguese. You’ll find it in literature, music and converations. After some time you will begin to better understand exactly what Brazilians mean when they use the word saudade…You Miss Something! The current state of the Martial Arts industry and the learning of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is missing something when people are rushed or only experience a little bit of this art and that art.
Prof. “little” Tony Pacenski
2nd Degree Black Belt
BJJ Revolution Team
Elite Training Center
1628 South Pacific Coast Highway
Redondo Beach CA, 90277
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